Call for papers. Dossier "History of historiography in Brazil and Portugal: future past of national histories in a restless present"


The period for submitting articles to the dossier "History of historiography in Brazil and Portugal: future past of national histories in a restless present" is open until March 15th, 2021.

In the introduction to the first issue of  Estudos Historicos journal, published in 1988, whose dossier was called Caminhos da Historiografia, the editors remarked that “historiography in Brazil has a solid tradition of analysis in a double direction. It either affirms that nothing changes in this country, or it claims each moment as new. We live either as if the new did not exist or as if it started from nothing. Neither idolatry of the past nor total denial of the origins help us understand the present and build a future.”[1] It was Manoel Luis Lima Salgado Guimaraes who initiated the pathway with an analysis on  IHGB (Brazilian Historic and Geographic Institute) and the work of Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen. Ricardo Benzaquen de Araújo and Francisco Iglésias unfolded the work of Capistrano de Abreu  e José Honório Rodrigues respectively, and, finally, Francisco Falcon conducted an interpretative analysis of the contemporary Portuguese historiography. Ten years later, in the preface to the second edition of the História da história em Portugal. A história através da história (séculos XIX e XX) dated from 14 of July, 1997, the authors - Luís Reis Torgal, José Amado Mendes e Fernando Catroga – reported a wish: “we hope, above all, that reading this work will lead scholars to critically reflect about a subject or subjects that are far from being exhausted.”[2] Even considering their remarkable differences, both projects come up with an idea of future that today, after two or three decades, we know prompted the consolidation of a field of studies we call history of historiography. Therefore, the proposal for this dossier is to bring back together, to contrast and to question our historiographical cultures, arising from comprehensive and interconnected themes such as national history, which are important to both Brazil and Portugal. In that respect, starting from the 19th century, which was marked in its wider perspective as the fertile period of the history of the nation, we can ask ourselves how this subjective category of consciousness - to be national -, this national community -  for which walls are built, wars are promoted and one dies for - was and is employed since its genesis as much in Brazil as in Portugal? How is this activist historiography about the nation and nationality perceived, used and manipulated today in our countries, in a context of allures to both proximity and integration in big transnational unities and to xenophobic boarders?[3] We start from the hypothesis that the notion of nation in effect in the 19th century would hinge on a specific notion of temporality as an underlying and immanent quality to reality. Either as a protagonist or as a supporting actress in a romantic play, sometimes burlesque, sometimes tragic, adapted to the local circumstances, this idea of nation arose as a  privileged category of reflection to seize  this historicity in their most singular and conspicuous manifestations. This set of transformations gravitates around the experience of history in the modernity, whose reach would exceed the epistemological territory to affect, in a more  dilated and perceptible way, all forms of development of the past. That being the case, the nation as a political and historiographical problem leads us to think that not all history originated from the 19th century is summoned up or emanates exclusively from the historiographical approach of the national.We are not simply stating that to write history is also to erase it, but that a metaphysics of existence corrupts a historicity that is alive and is aborted, ultimately, by historiography itself. Thus, we ask which nation or which historical themes, built and disseminated in countless ways since the 19th century can explay, justify, standardize the understanding of its own historicity as much as its rhetorical visibility in the present? The goal of this dossier is to open ourselves to this debate.

[1] Estudos Históricos, Caminhos da Historiografia, v. 1, n. 1, 1988, pp. 3-4.

[2] TORGAL, Luís Reis/ MENDES, José Amado/CATROGA, Fernando. História da história em Portugal. A história através da história (séculos XIX e XX). Coimbra: Temas e Debates, 1998.

[3] MATOS, Sérgio Campos. Consciência histórica e nacionalismo. Portugal, séculos XIX e XX.  Lisboa: Livros Horizontes, 2008. BERGER, Stefan/LORENZ, Chris (edited by). The contested nation. Ethnicity, class, religion and gender in national histories. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillian, 2011. PALTI, Elias. La nación como problema. Los historiadores y la “cuestión nacional”. Buenos Aires: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2002.